ZNet on WTO protests & Talmadge Wright on homelessness & global

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Wed, 1 Dec 1999 19:36:21 -0800 (PST)

FWD  CC Replies To: Talmadge Wright <twright@orion.it.luc.edu>

Subject: ZNet Free Update -- Seattle is the Center of the World (fwd)

I apologize if any of you have seen this before. However, given the
expansion of *homelessness* globally it is important to place our local
efforts in an international perspective. It is quite obvious from academic
and non-academic studies alike that the biggest producer of homelessness
in the world is the *neo-liberal economic policies* practiced by the
collusion between multinational corporations and respective national
governments. Many of us have complained as we watched our shelters expand
and harsh policies practiced upon the legions of people without homes. The
so called "economic miracle" of the past seven years has been bought at
the expense of poor people's lives. This is the message of the WTO
protests. The supply side ideology which has sustained the Reagan, Bush,
and Clinton administrations (i.e. neo-liberalism) has fostered the
degregulation of companies, the privitization of public (democratic)
goods), and the imposition of fiscal austerity measures upon those who are
forced to join the international free trade markets. These measures have
enriched the minority of national elites and the upper middle class
professionals of respective host countries at the expense of the poor and
working families all around the world. The violence in the streets of
Seattle is small potatoes compared to the violence visited upon the poor
around the world.
	Mainstream economists which follow the conventional wisdom of
financial policies just don't get it. And yet these are always the people
you see on the mainstream news. The corporate news. What people are
fighting about in the streets of Seattle is none other than a fight for
democracy and for economic justice - a fight we should all be engaged in.
Solving homelessness will not come from building more shelters, we all
know that, but from holding these arrogrant corporate tyrants and their
governmental syncophants accountable for the poverty THEIR POLICIES have
generated. On to the year 2000! On to the global struggle to end
homelessness and establish democracy and economic justice for all!!


Forwarded message:
From: "Michael Albert" <sysop@zmag.org>
To: <znetupdates@tao.ca>
Subject: ZNet Free Update -- Seattle is the Center of the World for the
Next Few Days
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 00:13:48 -0000

A Brief Comment * What's Happening in Seattle and Why
By Michael Albert

Ballpark 50-100,000 demonstrators assembled in Seattle. They are farmers and
industrial workers, unionists and environmentalists, young and old, men and
women, from the U.S. and from the third world, and they are angry and their
target is the WTO, and thus also oppressive world trade, and thus also, just
a minor step beyond, the market system and capitalism itself. They are there
to raise social costs to elites by their actions on the scene and by
the repercussions for continuing organizing around the world (75,000
today demonstrated in France, for example) to curtail or better to
close down the WTO agenda.

So what do you do if you are in charge of the City and have Clinton due in
town imminently and the whole world, literally, watching? What's the elite

(1) You can sit back and be nice and allow the demonstrators to move freely
and make their points and develop confidence and grow in number and size
and, most important, in their mutual solidarity, with more people arriving
every hour, and education and outreach blossoming each day.

Or (2) you can try and break the thing up, quickly, even if at great risk
should you fail.

>From early reports it seems that the powers that be decided that to
leave hands off was a recipe for sure disaster. They likely envisioned
the specter of growing numbers, growing willingness to do civil
disobedience, and worst of all, growing
solidarity between diverse sectors and outreach to new constituencies, and
realized that throughout the country and world this would send a message
that dissent can restrain the state. They didn't like that picture.

Their other option * the usual favorite choice of U.S. elites * is to try to
bust up opposition by using as much force as they can get away with.
The idea in this case is to send an immediate message that being in
Seattle as a demonstrator means braving gas, truncheons, and rubber
bullets, at least. The police and media try to together get the less
mobile and less militant demonstrators to leave, depressed or angry.
Then the thinned ranks can be herded away from the WTO buildings and
arrested or banished.

Judging by early reports I'm guessing that*s the elite plan. The tactics
are very typical * intimidating costumes, quick and eager but still
for the moment limited violence, curfews, provocations to get
demonstrator (or town citizen) actions that one can complain are the
source of the repression. Provoke a little violence, repress it, in
due course, with a lot...

The demonstrator reaction will hopefully be not to fracture but
instead to generate more and more organization, discipline, and steadfast
solidarity and militance in marching, and, when need be, in committing
non-violent civil disobedience.

What will happen?

No one can possibly know, of course. But if you are in Seattle I think the
thing to try to affect is whether Seattle's citizens -- its cab drivers, its
bus drivers, its small shop keepers, its folks on the street -- become
sympathetic to the demonstrators or even outright supportive of them,
and whether the union and other more mainstream demonstrators
align with the street demonstrations and continuing marches and
rallies, telling the Seattle police that their opposition is workers
like themselves, and angry ones at that. This is already an important
event. If alliance and solidarity can be forged, it will be historic.

Here are some sites where you can get excellent up to the minute
information to pass along to others to build support for the
demonstrators and opposition fo the WTO:

ZNet's Global/WTO Watch -- Direct from the scene reports and analysis--plus
contextual reports and in depth materials from Z Magazine's writers and
beyond--and you can post your own reports, as well:

The Seattle Indy News Center -- on the ground, on the scene, with audio,
video, and print reports: http://www.indymedia.org/

Democracy Now -- Amy Goodman reports with noted guests on the scene on
events in Seattle and their meaning:

World Trade Watch Radio -- Live reports from Seattle with Julie Light and
Norman Solomon and their guests:

Global Exchange's Democratize the Global Economy -- Analysis and context:

Corporate Watch's WTO Coverage -- Analysis of corporations and their role in
society focused on the WTO:

Food First -- Food politics in general and regarding the WTO:

The Preamble Center: A research project into the U.S. economy...with special
coverage of the WTO: http://www.preamble.org/

Legal Help for Seattle Demonstrators: Information and connections:

Michael Albert
Z Magazine / ZNet

* Talmadge Wright				(773) 508-3451 *
* Dept. of Sociology/Anthropology	    FAX:(773) 508-7099 *
* Loyola University Chicago				       *
* 6525 N. Sheridan Rd.					       *
* Chicago, Illinois 60626				       *


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